Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

Read it!

An amazing story of God’s saving power! The Son of the Religious Leader of Hamas becoming a believer?!!!!? What?!? That should not surprise me. Salvation belongs to the Lord. He graciously saves undeserving people. This story made me reflect on how my salvation was no small work and that it was all of Him. Reflecting on the salvation and transformation of a Hamas Leader’s son or on my own salvation and sanctification should equally lead me to awe, wonder, worship, and thanksgiving.

This book clearly presents the hardships of the Palestinian people while showing how wrong and how lost they are. It is a great reminder that the only hope for the Middle East or for any of us is Jesus Christ. There is no true peace apart from Him. His kingdom is not advanced by armies, wars, politicians or peace summits. His peace advances through the proclamation and acceptance of the gospel by individuals.

Here is a little segment from the introduction to whet your appetite:

“I could have been a hero and made my people proud of me. I knew what kind of hero they were looking for: a fighter who dedicated his life and family to the cause of a nation. Even if I was killed, they would have told my story for generations to come and been proud of me forever, but in reality, I would not have been much of a hero.
Instead, I became a traitor in the eyes of my people. Although I once brought pride to you, I now bring you only shame. Although I was once the royal prince, I am now a stranger in a foreign country fighting against the enemy of loneliness and darkness.
I know you see me as a traitor; please understand it was not you I chose to betray, but your understanding of what it means to be a hero. When Middle Easter nations – Jews and Arabs alike – start to understand some of what I understand, only then will there be peace. And if my Lord was rejected for saving the world from the punishment of hell, I don’t mind being a reject!”

Something to Think About
July 9, 2010, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Books, Cool Finds, Counseling, current issues, Politics

The following quotes were taken from The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. I highly recommend it. These quotes were especially interesting to me because of who said them and what they say about our legal system today:

“One reason our courts have become so overburdened is that Americans are increasingly turning to the courts for relief from a range of personal distresses and anxieties. Remedies for personal wrongs that were considered the responsibility of institutions other than the courts are now boldly asserted as legal ‘entitlements.’ The courts have been expected to fill the voice created by the decline of church, family and neighborhood unity.” – Chief Justice Warren (54)

“What is lawful is not always right. Confusing the two concepts is particularly easy for the English speaking because we us the word ‘right’ to refer both to legality and to moral appropriateness …. We say ‘I have a right to plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions about possible criminal activity’ – even when the consequences of exercising that ‘right’ may cause an innocent person to be convicted. Exercising such a ‘right’ is certainly wrong.” – Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice (92)

I’m playing in the snow…

… just playing in the snow. What a glorious Independence Day! I’m playing in the snow.

Well, Al Gore must have fixed the global warming problem, because while we were visiting Kellie’s parents for the weekend we had a snow encounter, in California, on the Fourth of July. Or, perhaps this is a part of “Climate Change.”

On another note, I don’t usually start sentences with conjunctions as I did in my last “sentence.” I grew up learning it was taboo and still believe it to be incorrect. I’ve been reading a book, however, entitled On Writing Well, that claims that we need to throw out the notion that we cannot start sentences with conjunctions like “or” or “but.” I thought I would give it a try, but I’m not convinced. It’s still a fragment masquerading as a sentence. Despite disagreeing with the author on a few topics, including political views and conjunctions, I highly recommend the book.

Now, here are some pictures of the effects of global warming on Fourth of July traditions:

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This post from Abraham Piper is  for my brothers and anyone else who enjoys a juicy steak and would like to boycott PETA.

Our Tax Dollars at Work…
April 7, 2010, 4:56 pm
Filed under: current issues, Politics, pop culture, Things I Don't Like

… paying this man’s salary. The Admiral I’ll gladly pay :) ; I can’t believe how graciously and professionally he responds. The House Representative I’d rather not pay. Listen to the entire thing and you’ll see why.

Seriously? Did that house representative share he was concerned about the island capsizing?

I thought people had heard about this, but when I shared the story with someone tonight in a conversation, I realized they had not. I think it is worth sharing here. Like the video of Miss Teen USA, it shows the state of the union. Yikes! It’s in bad condition.

HT: Todd Bolen

Prison Reform
February 7, 2010, 7:52 am
Filed under: Books, Christian Living, Cool Finds, current issues, Life, Politics, tmc

Cain's Redemption

I recently read this book which is a quick read. I was encouraged in chapel on Wednesday to hear how believers are ministering to prisoners and to hear what God is at work doing in reforming lives of prisoners. They in turn are sharing Christ with their families both in words and by their reformed lives. They also gave testimony to the fact that because of lives being transformed by the gospel in Angola Prison a missionary movement was actually occuring there. Believers were requesting transfers to other prisons so they could share the gospel there.

This book deals with that transformation that occurred in one of America’s bloodiest prisons. Located in Louisiana, Angola was infamous for the type of criminal housed there and for the poor treatment they received from the staff. It predominately houses murderers with life sentences and those who are on death row. This prison has been literally transformed in large part by a believing warden who realizes the need for heart change not just behavior change. As a believer, he not only recognizes that radical change is possible, but he also believes that God has a plan and a purpose for those he calls (even if they are not free men).

There are some things in the book that might set off your TMC sensor if you received one when you graduated from that college :), but it is very thought-provoking. It makes you think with compassion and it makes you think about convicts as fallen, lost people who God can use to advance His Kingdom. Some of these men who become believers at Angola have received a college degree in theology and are now shepherding large flocks in the prison. They really aren’t so different from you and me. The seed of every sin is within me. I am proud, I hate, and but for the grace of God, I may have committed murder. Because of the grace of God, those who have believed in Angola and I both can stand before God as judge.

It also makes you think about the death penalty, repentant convicts, and consequences for actions. I believe in the death penalty, but it is a very sobering thing to think about being the warden holding the hand of a good, older inmate and brother in Christ as he receives lethal injection. The first lethal injection the warden attended was very sobering and eye-opening for him. He had no contact with the sentenced criminal except to explain the procedure. That night after the execution as he drove home he realized he had done nothing to prepare the man’s soul.

I also believe that there are consequences for actions that extend beyond repentance, but the book does make you ask the question, is prison the best place for 70-80-year-old men who are frail and not predators. Is that the best use of taxpayers money? Many of the men were incarcerated in their early 20’s and will spend the rest of their lives there. That is a long time. They dream of being freed one day.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

One inmate at Angola stated, “I’m praying my desire to serve God would exceed my desire to get out” (166).

The following quote shows the warden’s conviction and resolve, “God is going to live in this place [speaking of Angola prison].

“My legacy isn’t bricks and motor,” said Warden Cain, “It’s what’s in the hearts of men at Angola” (180). This book is a good reminder that all of us are called in our vocations to glorify God and serve Him.

“It is a legacy of men whose souls, though behind bars, are free” (180).

Sad State of the Union
October 20, 2009, 2:25 am
Filed under: current issues, Life, Politics, pop culture, Things I Don't Like

Cost: 1.4 billion dollars

Effect: lower car sales in recent months than in past years by a significant margin

Explanation: People who were going to buy cars bought cars early, while they could get money for their clunkers.

Transportation Secretary’s Report : Cash for Clunkers was more successful than any other program.

Does that make sense to you? 1.4 billion dollar cost with no real effect and it is the best program we have. That is the sad state of our country. In spite of that, people are still looking to the government for solutions. Read this editorial on the Cash for Clunkers issue.

This sad state is not surprising when you read this report on who has the most twitter followers. Seriously! Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Spears, and Elen Degenerous are the top three followed tweeters?

Thanks to  http://www.whatsbestnext.com for posting
both a link to the editorial 
and the link to the twitter report.

Also for an entertaining grasp of the sad state of our country, watch Miss Teen South Carolina answer why many Americans cannot find the U.S. on a map.